Saturday, 24 March 2018

Lions' charity work could end as membership falls

GORING, Woodcote and District Lions Club could be disbanded if it cannot attract at least five new members.

GORING, Woodcote and District Lions Club could be disbanded if it cannot attract at least five new members.

The group, which raises about £10,000 a year for local good causes, has only seven members left and three of them may not be able to continue due to infirmity.

Co-founder Jon Solman said: “Our membership is aging and there isn’t a new generation coming through to take up the baton.

“One of our members is 88, one is in a wheelchair and another has become ill so effectively we have only four.

“We need people with fresh ideas so we can support people in desperate need across the district, of which there are surprisingly many. If we could get more members we could not only keep going but expand our activities and raise more money.

“Generally people need to give only a few hours a week, although specific projects may require more commitment from time to time.

“Sadly, clubs like us across the country are finding it difficult to interest younger people. My grown-up children are much busier than I was at their age. They’re happy to do one-off events but they can’t make commitments.”

The Lions organise several annual events, including the Santa’s sleigh collection which runs through the villages in the run-up to Christmas with the help of volunteers. This typically raises at least £3,000.

The proceeds go to charities and community organisations, usually for one-off purchases such as new equipment.

The club also gives small grants to individuals and families who are struggling to make ends meet and a small amount goes to overseas schemes run by Lions Club International.

The club used to run the Woodcote 10km race each January but now shares this with Pangbourne Rotary Club as it proved to be too much work.

It recently had to cancel its monthly cake sales at the Sue Ryder hospice in Nettlebed for the same reason.

The branch was set up in 1981 as an offshoot of the Lions’ South Chiltern branch, which has since folded, and originally had 22 members.

Mr Solman said: “Perhaps the club has run its course with the advent of the internet and social media but we would like it to continue.

“The Santa runs have been going more or less since we started and I think they would be especially missed.

“Anyone who can help should come to one of our meetings and bring a friend. We’re a friendly bunch and the beer is cheap.”

The club meets at Goring Social Club in High Street at 8pm on the second Monday of the month.

Membership is open to men or women aged over 21. For more information, call 0845 833 9837 or visit

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